November 12, 2014

some pretty, pretty (nearly free!) Christmas cards...

pretty, pretty (almost free!) Christmas cards |
Last week, I mentioned the Tiny Prints deal where you could snag 10 free cards and pay only shipping and handling. I couldn't wait to take advantage of it, mostly because I just wanted to see what our family photos looked like in card-form! They arrived super-fast and I was so excited by how they turned out that I simply had to share. The grand total for these cards was $5.99 (shipping). Not too bad for what would have cost me more than $31 full-price!

If you want to order your own, remember that today (November 12th) is the last day you can use this specific code: 10FREECARDS. (If you miss the cutoff, you can still use TPSAVE25FS to get 25% off and free shipping. I tried combining these two codes, but no dice!) All you have to do is design and order your own cards, add 10 to your cart, and use the code 10FREECARDS to get the cards for free. These cards are usually so expensive I could never justify buying even 10 at full price (especially with shipping!), so I'm recommending this deal as a lady who is always a little too excited about figuring out how to get something for almost-free.

pretty, pretty (almost free!) Christmas cards |
The style I chose is called Playful Paint—but it took me a while to settle on one because there are so many gorgeous ones. Darn you, Tiny Prints, and your beautifully designed, expensive cards! Were I rich I would buy 50 of you!

pretty, pretty (almost free!) Christmas cards |
I couldn't figure out how to add text to the back of the card (which would have normally been a deal-breaker for me, considering I love including a blurb on our past year). I decided that for these cards, I'll just print out what I want to write on paper, then attach it to the back of the card with washi tape.

pretty, pretty (almost free!) Christmas cards |
Although I will most likely buy the rest of my cards elsewhere (unless another can't-miss deal comes by way), I'm glad to have a handful of these beautiful cards to send out to some of our friends and family (the ones who don't read this blog, that is!). Sending out Christmas cards is one of my favorite things ever. If I could get a job stuffing, stamping and addressing envelopes for a living, I'd totally do that. (Hire me?)

Tiny Prints 10 Free Holiday Cards
Affiliate links included in this post; view my disclosure policy here.

November 11, 2014

a few favorite books for age 3...

current favorite books for age 3! | 
If there's one thing I dream of having someday, it's built-in bookshelves for all the books we have. We simply don't have enough room in our little place for all the ones we've accumulated, especially children's books (but oh, what a nice problem to have). This is probably why most of the time we end up checking books out from the library, so we can have a nice little stack coming and going, and can constantly change the rotation of bedtime and naptime stories.

Reading to my daughter is something that has always been near and dear to my heart, so I thought it would be fun to share some of our family's recent favorites! I'm always on the lookout for gift ideas, or new books to checkout from the library each week. Hopefully this little list will inspire some of you, as well!

My First Little House Books — If you're a fan of the Little House series, but your child is a bit too young for them, I definitely recommend these books! They're aimed at the younger set, but stay true to the original stories. Even the illustrations are based on the Garth Williams drawings from the original books, which I love. We have 3 of these, and I plan of completing the series before Eisley gets too old for them. (I may have to pick up this Christmas one to put under the tree this year!)

Blueberries for Sal — My mom bought this book for Eisley, and she just loves it. "Kerplink, kerplank, kerplunk!" The story is very fun to read, showing how the relationship of the girl and her mom are mirrored in that of a mama bear and her cub. I love the illustrations and the way the story is written. I've also come across many free projects online that coordinate with this book, which are a great plus for home learning! Here's a great post with a bunch of activities I'm eager to try.

Goldie Socks and the Three Libearians — This book was (somewhat unsurprisingly) recommended to us by our favorite librarian. I judged it by the cover initially (it looked a little too modern for my taste) but the story is absolutely adorable. It's a twist on the original Goldilocks tale, and features a story that will be appreciated by both parents and children alike. I'm pretty sure Eisley requested it to be read to her every night for a week! It's one I would definitely buy as a gift for another preschool-aged kiddo.

To Market, to Market — I featured this book in a monthly swoonage post a while back, but it's worth mentioning again! The artwork in this book is gorgeous, and I love the way it is written. The book features the story of a boy and his mom visiting a farmers market, and as they go to each vendor the book offers a small intro on each product and the person selling it. Then, on the next page, there is a longer story that goes into greater detail of how the product is made or grown (honey, cheese, kale, etc.). This book can easily grow with a child, because you can read it to a 3 year old (sticking to the shorter descriptions) or an 8 year old (also reading the longer pages). I also find it charming that the people featured in the book are real people—actual vendors at a farmer's marker in Olympia, WA.

I Took the Moon for a Walk — We received this book ages ago in a Citrus Lane box, and it remains a favorite for bedtime. If you're looking for a book that is the perfect way to end the day, this one is definitely a great choice. The illustrations are beautiful, and the story rolls off the tongue perfectly when read aloud. I also love that there is a section in the back of the book that helps teach children about nature at night: the phases of the moon, nocturnal animals, and plants that only bloom after the sun goes down.

Lola at the Library — This book was a gift from Jay's mom, and Eisley has loved it since she was two! It is a great way to encourage excitement about a weekly library visit. The story is sweet, simple, and fun to read. I just discovered there are more Lola books in this series, so I'm adding them to our list to check out!

Cowboy Small — We have checked this book out from the library at least three times, and I can't get enough of it. (It also gave me an excuse to teach Eisley the song Home on the Range—which she enjoys belting out randomly throughout the day.) It's a quick read with retro illustrations and a story that describes the life and times of an adorable little cowboy. It's a great book for a boy or girl (even a girl who is mildly obsessed with princesses loves a good cowboy story!).

If you have any childhood favorites that you feel we shouldn't skip over, do share! I love hearing which books people love reading with their children—or, if you don't have any kids of your own yet, you can feel free to share any books you remember fondly from your own childhood.

Affiliate links included in this post; view my disclosure policy here.

November 10, 2014

my weekly to-dos...

The past two weeks have been very full, but I certainly can't complain. (Except maybe about Jay's car being in the shop for almost a week now. Can I complain about that? Thank heavens we're a two-car family right now and I don't work outside the home!) There have been unexpected bills, unexpected blessings, busy evenings, an abundance of baked goods, emotions gone wild (both Eisley's and my own—it's a good thing I married someone with a level head), ridiculously warm afternoons (it actually hit the low-90s again last week, for the love), and cool evenings that felt like pure bliss.

We're looking into buying a new car early next year, which will be good, as we outgrew my tiny hatchback Yaris (which is the vehicular equivalent of a coconut jelly bean) soon after having Eisley. But I'm glad we made it work until paying it off this month. Jay can take my car for his long commute to work, and we can finally be free of his ancient (is '01 ancient in car years?) Honda. We'll be in the market for a small SUV, so if anyone has any advice, do share!

In other news…I have no other news. I've been all discombobulated lately, and I know a lot of it has to do with needing to get back to my early morning routine. Commence old lady bedtime!

Here's a look at my recent to-do list (from two weeks ago!) and my list for the week ahead:

Previous goals:

Marriage, Motherhood & Home Life
 — Try one new recipe (made this roasted broccoli, these crescent roll pizzas and these cookies)
 — More undistracted playtime with Eisley during the day
 — Begin week 4 of 4 Weeks to a More Organized Home

 — Finish reading one book
 — Get back to my morning routine
 — Solo shopping trip

Creativity & Blogging
 — Crochet something new
 — Work on landing page for DIY projects

 — Organize Christmas shopping list
 — Decide on Halloween costume for Eisley

Here are a few snapshots from the past two weeks:
Cinderelly |
Eisley had a blast on Halloween. I had many visions of a creative, handmade costume, but I definitely put it off for too long. All the better for this little gal, because she got to borrow a sweet friend's Cinderella dress. (I'm pretty sure it's what she would have chosen, after all!) We went door-to-door throughout our neighborhood, as well as visiting my grandma and trick or treating down her street. I like the idea of keeping it sweet and simple in these early years. By the end of the night, Eisley was feeling very independent, telling us that she wanted to go up to each door by herself. (Where has my baby gone? Wahhhhh!) She was also incredibly thoughtful when my grandma ran out of candy while we were visiting, running to the door all ready to offer the tick-or-treaters some goodies from her own stash. What a gem. Sometimes she surprises me with her sweetness.

imageDisney days | yourwishcake.comDisney days |
We've been getting so much use out of our annual passes, and I'm grateful we've been able to splurge on something like this while Eisley is this age. (I just hope she knows how lucky she truly is!) We ended up spending an entire day at Disneyland last weekend (from 9-6) and Eisley made it the whole day without any significant meltdowns—even without taking a nap! This is like a new season in parenthood, one when we can take a day trip here and there and not have to worry about working around a nap. Kind of awesome, if you ask me. Granted, I'm not ready to drop the nap quite yet altogether (and her naps are typically still around 2 hours each day) but it's nice to have the option to skip!

This week's goals:

Marriage, Motherhood & Home Life
 — Deep clean/organize something
 — At-home movie night with Jay
 — Complete 2 creative learning projects with Eisley

 — Finish reading one book
 — Early bedtime = early mornings!
 — Walk/run at least 3x
 — Take more photos with "real" camera

Creativity & Blogging
 — Toss/sell/donate crafting items I no longer use
 — Plan posts for December's handmade packaging series

 — Send one piece of snail mail

Thanks for taking the time to peek into my day-to-day! I hope you have a beautiful Monday.